If ever a company had a vested interest in the city where it is headquartered, it is Tongaat Hulett Developments, part of the Southern African multinational Tongaat Hulett Limited, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
For more than 40 years Tongaat Hulett Developments(THD) has been responsible for the facilitation of land conversion and development. The company, together with its partners, has helped shape the city and unpack its potential. Expansion has rolled out in an orderly fashion due to the collaborative partnerships it has with the city, business and communities. THD’s offices display an impressive array of maps and big beautiful photographs that show the city in all its natural and architectural finery. Managing director, Mike Deighton, below, says the company takes its responsibility seriously.
THD’s partners currently have R7,8-billion in new build under construction from land it has developed. This has created 50 000 construction jobs and 5 800 permanent jobs, and will contribute R120-million more to the city rates base every year.
With billions invested in public infrastructure, it has unlocked more than 500ha worth of industrial platformed land, literally thousands of offices and shops, and 15 new residential neighbourhoods with at least 10 000 houses.
“Tongaat Hulett Developments is dedicated to making a positive impact in shared value creation through effective land conversion. Together with committing to investments in our region. In other industries, we have seen equally important national brands establishing themselves in Durban.”
Growth is being driven in part by Durban’s 58-berth port – the busiest harbour in sub-Saharan Africa and a major contributor to the local economy- as well as the manufacturing, trade and tourism industries.
But the port is just one element of the transport and logistics infrastructure that makes Durban attractive. Major transport hubs – for people as well as goods – combined with an advanced logistics network makes the region ripe for growth and development, he says. “We have seen a variety of industries relocating to or our partners we have a track record of capable land development through collaboration, and these partnerships continue to increase in scope and socio-economic impact,” Deighton says.
His colleague, THD commercial director, Chris du Toit, says eThekwini is one of the fastest growing metros in South Africa.
“We are witnessing unprecedented interest in Durban and its environs, especially in the northern coastal development corridor between Durban and Tinley Manor in the north. Big names in the property development industry such as the Amdec Group and Balwin Properties, have recognised KZN’s potential and are expanding in Durban based on its inherent advantages.”
Du Toit says eThekwini reflected one of the highest growth rates in employment in the first part of 2017 at 5.2% compared to the national average of 3.6% and an above-average labour force participation rate of 63% – welcome news for the 1,6-million labour force which boasts a literacy rate of 84.3%.
“Business Process Outsourcing facilities, for example, have a higher staff density resulting in greater relative job formation and a domino effect for the local economy. This has a multiplier effect across other industries such as retail, education and transport.”